U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) today urged travelers to boycott Provenance Hotels, the Portland-based chain founded by the Hon. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.
"Anyone who cares about America should not do any business or stay at any of Gordon Sondland's hotels. Not until he fulfills his duty as a citizen to testify and turn over all relevant documents to the House of Representatives," Blumenauer said in a statement today. "Nobody is above the law. Mr. Sondland and the entire Trump administration need to be reminded of that."
Provenance owns or operates 14 hotels, including six in Portland: the Heathman, the Sentinel, the deLuxe, the Lucia, the Dossier and the Woodlark.
Sondland served as Provenance's CEO until President Donald Trump nominated him to the ambassadorship last year. In his diplomatic role, Sondland has been centrally involved in communications between the Trump administration and Ukrainian officials.
The joint congressional committee investigating whether Trump should be impeached for his request that Ukraine investigation former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who reportedly received up to $50,000 a month for serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, summoned Sondland to testify yesterday but the U.S. Department of State abruptly cancelled his testimony.
Blumenauer's boycott call is an attempt to convince Sondland to show up anyway.
Updated at 5:20 pm: Jim McDermott, a Portland attorney who represents Sondland, responded Wednesday afternoon with a statement:
"Congressman Blumenauer's irresponsible attempt to hurt a homegrown business that supports hundreds of jobs in our local economy is just shameful and ought to outrage all Oregonians," McDermott said.
"I am one of the lawyers representing Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who founded Provenance Hotels but has not been a company executive since he became US Ambassador to the European Union in early July 2018.
Ambassador Sondland has requested that the Department of State allow him to testify as soon as possible.
Precisely because no one is above the law, Ambassador Sondland has turned over all relevant documents sought by Congress to the Department of State, as the Federal Records Act requires.
It is for the Department of State, not Ambassador Sondland, to produce these records to the Committees of the House. The Federal Records Act prohibits federal employees such as Ambassador Sondland from sharing or disclosing documents concerning their official business.
Congressman Blumenauer would do well to learn and understand the laws that Congress has passed before he makes reckless and destructive threats that would only economically injure hardworking Oregon employees."